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 1 
 on: November 13, 2017, 06:56:48 PM 
Started by Diane James - Last post by Ric Gillespie
Mark Laidre is eager to compare notes with us about coconut crabs. We have a conference Skype call scheduled for later this month.

 2 
 on: November 13, 2017, 05:33:14 PM 
Started by Diane James - Last post by Diane James
Oh goodie, now Fox is getting into the matter.  And haven't we heard about this photo before?
http://www.foxnews.com/science/2017/11/13/mystery-deepens-over-whether-amelia-earhart-was-eaten-by-three-foot-crabs-with-claws-like-lion-jaws.html  :P

 3 
 on: November 11, 2017, 10:47:15 AM 
Started by David Williams - Last post by David Williams
I fully understand Ric, my middle name is patience ha, ha, I imagine putting together a TIGHAR Tracks edition is time consuming at any time but with your latest news about reassessing the 2015 dive photography and video footage simultaneously, you really don’t need me diverting your attention.

I am, of course, keen to hear the results of the reassessment in the pending TIGHAR Tracks!
DW

 4 
 on: November 10, 2017, 10:39:03 AM 
Started by Diane James - Last post by Ric Gillespie
Thanks Diane.  The article contains some pretty stupid language ("innocent seabirds," "disturbing," "way, way worse than we could ever imagine," "crazy," monster crabs"). Laidre's paper at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/fee.1730/full is more useful and gives us some new information about Birgus latro.  We've known that coconut crabs, like all crabs, are scavengers, but we've previously seen no proof that they are also predators. I once saw a coconut crab on a tree branch dining on a dead rat, but there was no way to know whether he had found a dead rat or killed it himself. 

In the time lapse video of our pig experiment (https://youtu.be/uBXpSSEcXYs) most of the action is by the small, baseball-sized, strawberry hermit crabs.  The coconut crabs who show up are fairly small and they don't go off with bones.  For whatever reason, none of the big coconut crabs participated in the feast.  According to Laidre, "Five more coconut crabs came to the site within 20 minutes, likely cueing in on the blood with their neurologically acute olfactory sense (Stensmyr et al. 2005). The attacker responded by dragging the booby several meters away, and then released its grip. As the booby lay paralyzed, the crabs fought, eventually tearing the bird apart over several hours, carrying it away, and consuming it."  We've never seen coconut crabs carry pieces away.

The article says, " A daytime attack had been witnessed 2 years before by M Luchmun (pers comm). An adult red-footed booby had landed near the entrance to a coconut crab's burrow. As the bird stood there, the crab slowly emerged from its underground lair, approaching the bird from behind. The crab then grabbed the bird by one leg and dragged it, struggling, back into its burrow. The bird never remerged."  We've never seen a coconut crab drag anything into its burrow.

Also, "At present, the patterns in bird nesting behavior, together with the observations of predation by coconut crabs on one of the largest bird species on Chagos, raise an intriguing hypothesis for future testing: coconut crabs could act as “ruler of the atoll” for terrestrial communities, inducing fear, particularly in vulnerable, ground-nesting species. "  That is certainly not the case on Niku.  There are lots of coconut crabs but the boobies do nest on the ground.

I'll try to get in touch with Mark Laidre.  He might appreciate our experiences with Birgus latro and he may have some insights that will be useful in our research.

 5 
 on: November 10, 2017, 09:40:17 AM 
Started by Diane James - Last post by Diane James
I came upon this https://www.sciencealert.com/coconut-crab-attacks-and-eats-seabird-red-footed-booby-gruesome article and video of a coconut crab killing and eating a seabird.  It gives me chills to imagine being Amelia or Fred, sick, hurt, and weak, being beset by a posse of these critters on the island.  Shudder!

--Diane

 6 
 on: November 10, 2017, 08:36:48 AM 
Started by David Williams - Last post by Ric Gillespie
Regarding the aircraft wreckage, seen by Tapania Taeke and Emily Sikuli (which her father told her was aeroplane wreckage) for it to be recognised as such, that wreckage (here we go again) would, could, should have been a sizeable object in plain sight at low tides, for some time... 1937 to 1939 at least?

If so, why do you think, if I am correct here in my assumption, that there was no report found in the official British command records of such an unusual item, pre-war, being found on the shoreline by the ‘native’ population?

It's an excellent question and I'm greatly tempted to drop everything and give you an in-depth answer, but I'm trying to get a new TIGHAR Tracks written so I'll beg your indulgence and ask you to be patient.

 7 
 on: November 10, 2017, 08:11:20 AM 
Started by David Williams - Last post by David Williams
Thank you Ric for your comprehensive insight into my somewhat half baked ‘theory’.  I really appreciate the time you spent going through all the points I made with the benefit of your vast knowledge of the subject.

Your 25 plus (I think) years of research on the AE search alone of TIGHAR’s endeavours is a phenomenal feat of tenacity and determination which I respect and I value your words of wisdom, again thank you.

Regarding the aircraft wreckage, seen by Tapania Taeke and Emily Sikuli (which her father told her was aeroplane wreckage) for it to be recognised as such, that wreckage (here we go again) would, could, should have been a sizeable object in plain sight at low tides, for some time... 1937 to 1939 at least?

If so, why do you think, if I am correct here in my assumption, that there was no report found in the official British command records of such an unusual item, pre-war, being found on the shoreline by the ‘native’ population? After eighteen years service in the British military I know first hand how meticulously such unusual incidents are normally recorded and reported up the chain of command, especially within the Civil Service, so I find it strange that Gerald Gallagher did not know of its existence as Governor of the Gardner Island Settlement.  I wonder if the ‘aircraft’ wreckage seen by Tapani and Emily was actually part of the Norwich City and dismissed by Gallagher as just that, ship wreckage OR as has been previously intimated.... was there indeed a definite British Government policy to cover up any idea that it ‘might’ belong to the missing Aviatrix?

“... currently reassessing photos and video of an object our dive team discovered embedded in the reef in 2015.  Although written off at the time as probable Norwich City debris, we now strongly suspect that it is aluminium debris from NR16020.”..... 

I am delighted to hear this Ric, no-one will be more thrilled than you of course to finally ‘nail’ this mystery.  A confirmed “potential  smoking gun” is what we all are looking forward to, I’m sure! Good luck!

My shaky theory remains just that of course and time may yet tell!   ;)
DW





 8 
 on: November 10, 2017, 07:09:05 AM 
Started by Michael HALL - Last post by Bill Mangus
Don't expect to sleep - anywhere - after viewing this ;D

 9 
 on: November 09, 2017, 05:10:54 PM 
Started by Michael HALL - Last post by Harbert William Davenport
More evidence on the capabilities of coconut crabs...
https://www.newscientist.com/article/giant-coconut-crab-sneaks-sleeping-bird-kills/?cmpid=ILC|NSNS|2017_webpush&utm_medium=ILC&utm_source=NSNS&utm_campaign=webpush-giant-crab

 10 
 on: November 09, 2017, 12:55:49 PM 
Started by David Williams - Last post by Ric Gillespie
I have for a long time been intrigued by the seemingly random sequence of numbers jotted down by professional Navy wireless operators based at Wailupe some eighty years ago, when they were sure they were listening to Amelia Earhart's post loss transmissions.

When evaluating something like this it's easy to unwittingly embellish the facts with assumptions.  There is nothing in the historical record to suggest that the Navy operators were sure they were listening to Amelia Earhart's post loss transmissions. They were merely reporting unusual signals heard on Earhart's frequency.  They had been listening on that frequency because they had been asked to listen on that frequency. We have no information about their opinion about what they heard except that they were quite sure about what they reported because the transmission was heard several times by three operators over a period of about an hour.

in fact it was recorded by professional Navy wireless operators (w/o’s) stationed at Wailupe, recorded by them in official US Navy radio logs, at the time and on the same frequency being used by Amelia!

It's probably safe to assume that what they heard was recorded in an official log but we don't have, and have not been able to find, that log.  They apparently phoned their report to the Coast Guard radio station in Honolulu who then passed it along to Itasca.  The communication was recorded in the Itasca radio log.  So what we have is a third-hand account.

One number in particular has kept me pondering as to what it could mean. If it is a correctly recorded number from a genuine Earhart transmission then I have to wonder why it is so specific. The number is 281, nothing more, nothing less, not rounded to 280 nor 285, very specifically 281, which if I was trying hard to be found is just what I would be doing as a downed pilot or navigator, i.e. being exact with the available technology!

Agreed, but that doesn't mean they were successful in achieving exact accuracy.

Nautical Miles (nm) have traditionally been the standard Navigators unit of measurement for sea and (later) air distances for a very long time. I think therefore that it's possible that the 281 referred to was/is nautical miles!

Agreed.

Applying this distance/latitude South of the Equator (note NOT South of Howland) the resultant South line of latitude goes straight through (surprise, surprise)...... Gardner/Nikumaroro Island.

True.

Depending on the variable Longitude chosen, a fix at 281 nm south of the equator can be found on the south eastern 'limb' of the atoll on the reef to the south of Kanawa Point extending eastwards to Baureke Passage.

True.

It has been suggested AE experienced stronger easterly winds on her Lae - Howland leg than she expected, so this location would be more favourable for landing into those stronger easterlies than the current TIGHAR theory which favours the almost North/South landing site near to the Norwich City shipwreck (pronounced btw Norrich City by we Brits, silent 'w')

We don't know what the wind was that morning but it was probably from the northeast.  If so, a landing on the reef near Kanawa Point would be more or less into the wind.  Winds on the northwest reef are influenced by the tall trees on Nutiran and, in our experience, are somewhat unpredictable.

This same line of latitude, if followed east along that shoreline from Baureke Passage for some distance then skips through the SE end of the lagoon and reappears again on dry land on a strip of 'beachfront'/ reef, also 281 nm south of the equator, in the vicinity of..... wait for it....... the 'seven site'!!! Coincidence or what??? Hmmm.

See attached map.

If Fred took a midday sighting on the sun or instructed Amelia how to do so (if as is supposed he was injured) and he/she arrived at a fix of 281 nm south of the Equator then either of the two locations, in my reasoning above, could conceivably be where they were sending their post loss radio signals from. If so, then it's very possible that one of those two locations is where they set up 'Camp Zero' close to where the aircraft finally landed and came to rest!

The site on the northern limb of the island is not an option.  The reef there is too rough to permit a landing that would not wreck the aircraft.

So, if the seven site is where they set up camp zero, after landing abeam the seven site, then the same scenario as posited for the Norwich City assumption might also apply to this location, i.e. the ship floated offshore and sank a few days later at high tide. If so, then maybe it would be A GOOD IDEA to search the underwater area immediately offshore of the seven site!! Isn't this after all where conjecture suggests "signs of recent habitation" was reported to have been seen by Lambrecht??
landed and came to rest!

Again, a landing near the Seven Site is not an option due to the rough nature of the reef.
Lambrecht did not say where he saw signs of scent habitation.

ALTERNATIVELY.. regarding Amelia's reported 'NY NY' etc, she/they may alternatively have flown around the island before deciding on the most into wind stretch of reef on which to land and observed the ships name in a low pass to enable reporting of that name in her first radio calls for help. Otherwise I doubt she would have had time to walk from the seven site, if that is where she landed, around to the shipwreck and then back to the seven site before getting on the radio later the same day, replete with the ships name, although that would not be impossible to do.

That seems like a real stretch.

So, there are these two very interesting locations on the island which are both 281 nm south of the equator which both permit a reef landing in theory, I have no idea of the surface condition of those places back in 1937 of course. Nor I guess does anyone else still alive today! After 80 years of twice daily tidal activity and frequent numerous storm surges affecting the topography of those reefs who is to say what they looked like as emergency landing strips all those years ago? In addition to this, if it was a rough landing on either of these two locations, doesn’t this tie in with the post loss ‘credible’ reports that both Fred and Amelia suffered injuries during the landing??

Aerial photographs doing back to 1938 show no appreciable change in the reef surface from then to now.

Punch the following co-ordinates into Google Maps to see these two possible landing sites lying at exactly 281 nm South of the equator.

Location 1. S 4* 41' 00" W 174* 29' 50".... very near the seven site.
Location 2. S 4* 41' 00" W 174* 31' 15" .... abeam Baureke Passage not far from the ‘Bivouac site’ and affording a landing directly eastwards into the probable wind.

Location 1 is not an option.
Location 2 is nearly a mile from where Eric Bevington said he saw signs that someone had "bivouacked for the night."  Bevington marked a map for us when we interviewed him in 1992. What he saw was probably the last camp set up by the Norwich City survivors before being rescued.  Unfortunately, there is a myth that Bevington's "bivouac" site was in the same location as the shoe site found in 1991. The shoe site, a mile and a quarter from the supposed landing site near Kanawa Point, has also been eliminated as being related to Earhart.

My theory presented here does not allow for 'nessie' being part of the Electra. Of course that mysterious item has not yet been located, nor positively identified, so it does not necessarily disbar my theory.
Maybe, just maybe, my theory has some credence DW

We had identified the northwestern reef as the probable landing site long before it was confirmed by the Bevington photo.  In 1997, Tapania Taeke told us of seeing part of a wing on the northwestern reef and airplane parts washed up on the northwestern beach.  In 1999, Emily Sikuli told us of seeing what her father told her was the wreckage of an airplane on the reef edge north the shipwreck. In 2007 we surveyed the northwestern reef and compared the hindcasted water levels to the credible post-loss signals and found an astounding correlation.  In 2010, Jeff Glickman spotted the object sticking up out of the water in the Bevington photo. His analysis that it is the wreckage of Lockheed Electra landing gear was echoed by an independent analysis by U.S. government photo analysts in 2011.  In 2016, Greg Daspit's CAD reconstruction of landing gear wreckage further supported the identification.  We are currently re-assessing photos and video of an object our dive team discovered embedded in the reef in 2015.  Although written off at the time as probable Norwich City debris, we now strongly suspect that it is aluminum debris from NR16020.  You'll be hearing a lot more about this potential smoking gun.

On balance, if the recorded ‘281’ is what I think it is, then my bet is the Electra lies offshore of either the seven site or Baureke passage, deep in the briny!!!

I can't prove you wrong, but I have to go where the evidence points.


ADDENDUM:   Unfortunately the most recent ROV searches of the area scanned to the North and North West of the Norwich City wreck failed to produce any evidence of Amelia’s Electra where we all hoped it might be found. 

An estimated 3% of the NW search area has been covered by ROV searches.

Maybe, just maybe, my theory has some credence

Your theory is based on three assumptions:
• The 281 message was a genuine post-loss transmission from Earhart.
I think that's a valid assumption.

•  281 refers to nautical miles south of the equator derived from a celestial observation by Noonan or Earhart.
I think that is possible.

• The celestial observation was accurate to a tolerance of one minute of latitude (one nautical mile).
I see a lot of evidence that it was not.

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